HomeLatestHainan youngsters shine brightly as younger golf professionals

Hainan youngsters shine brightly as younger golf professionals

SUZHOU, China, Oct. 19 (Xinhua) — China’s Hainan Island has emerged as a hotbed for golf, as clearly proof from the rise of Li Linqiang and Liu Enhua.

As the No. 1 and No. 2 gamers, respectively, on the China Tour Order of Merit, each hail from the nation’s southern-most province and have rapidly made their names recognized on the world golf stage.

With the 19-year-old Li dominating the China Tour with three wins this season, and the 17-year-old Liu capturing his maiden title, each are aiming to be atop the leaderboard when the Mitsubishi Electric FA Golf Open concludes on Sunday at Suzhou Taihu International Golf Club.

For Li, who this yr has captured titles on the Jinan Open, Guotai Cup Match Play and final month’s Guotai Open, the motivation to win this week in Jiangsu has particular which means.

“Dou Zecheng (the PGA Tour regular) has always been my role model. I read that he is the only player to win four times on the China Tour. I want to follow in his footsteps and also win four times. Hopefully I can do it on Sunday.”

Both Li and Liu grew up in Haikou, the Hainan capital within the north of the island, and took totally different paths to succeed in the professional recreation. While Liu was a toddler prodigy, coaching and competing repeatedly from the age of six, Li did not choose up a golf membership till he was 9.

With his mother and father being transplants from Harbin within the northern, often-frozen Heilongjiang province, neither performed golf. His father’s brother launched the younger Li to golf on the sun-drenched island that boasts greater than 20 golf golf equipment, together with the Mission Hills Haikou advanced the place 10 programs encompass the huge resort.

“My first coach was Sun Xiuhua, one of the first-generation lady professionals in China. Then I followed a Spanish coach,” mentioned Li. “Golf was a relatively late interest for me in contrast to my counterparts, but I fell in love quickly and took it seriously immediately.”

The follow rapidly paid off as in 2017 when he made the weekend play on the Hainan Open as a 13-year-old. His achievement set a brand new file for the youngest participant to make the midway lower at a European Challenge Tour match – the occasion’s co-sponsor.

Turning professional in 2022 after he gained the China Tour Qualifying Tournament #2, Li instantly got here near getting his first win however fell brief on the Hengdian Championship to Ma Chengyao.

“I lost in the playoff at Hengdian Championship. I thought I was close to the win, I have the game to win. It inspired me,” mentioned Li who’s 1,424th on the planet golf rating.

“At Shandong Guyun Lake Golf Course (at the Jinan Open), I had my first win. Going into the final round, I was three shots behind. I played from the last group. Chen Guxin was the leader. He played solid. But the wind picked up late in the final round. While Chen struggled down the stretch, I grasped the chance.”

With RMB351,168 in prize cash to date this yr, Li is comfortably atop the Order of Merit with nobody in a position to catch him this week with the RMB90,000 winner’s purse. But with 4 tournaments left within the season after this week, a number of gamers are in shut proximity seeking to get shut and overtake him within the run-up to the season-ending CGC Championship.

The cash title winner this yr robotically receives a full-playing card for subsequent season on the DP World Tour.

Liu, second on the Order with RMB230,253, is amongst these gunning for the title. The teenager acquired his first style of victory in May when he gained the Exciting Hangzhou West Lake Open, beating Chen by a stroke. He then completed runner-up to Li on the Guotai Cup Men’s and Women’s Professional Match Play in August.

“My plan didn’t change after my first win. I tried to qualify for the Asian Tour last year but failed. I will try again this year. But this win shows me that I am good enough to win on the China Tour and I am able to go a step further,” mentioned Liu, additionally a second-year professional.

Playing on the DP World Tour is one other aim, though he concedes he could also be too far behind Li on the cash listing to catch him.

“Still, I would try to qualify for the DP World Tour. I would be exempted into the final stage of Q-school as a top-three player on the China Tour. I don’t want to miss the boat. I enjoy my tour life. I love golf and travel, I can see many new places.”

Li, in distinction, mentioned he most popular not to consider the cash title.

“I know I dominate now, but anything could change at the Volvo China Open where the purse is US$1.5 million. I don’t want more stress. The greens in Suzhou are different from last week (in Hangzhou). I need to spend more time on the greens,” he mentioned.

“In 2020 and 2021, I hit the bottom. I had self-doubt. But you know, it could be a blessing in disguise. Everyone could slump at some point in his career. I learned and could be better with the experience. I just try to qualify for the Japan Tour, too. I think it’s a good place for me to grow up. I also have a chance to play on the European Tour. I would struggle over there because I haven’t played on the global stage. I didn’t have a good preparation. But I will still be there and gather experience,” he added.